Washington Leads Men's Basketball over New Hampshire 68-50

Washington Leads Men's Basketball over New Hampshire 68-50

DURHAM, N.H. — Freshman James Washington finished with 19 points and five rebounds to lead the American University men's basketball team to its first win of the season at New Hampshire, 68-50, on Saturday afternoon. 

"The guys felt more comfortable on both ends today," said head coach Mike Brennan. "It's a heck of a win against a tough New Hampshire team. It felt like a league win." 

Washington was one of three Eagles to finish in double figures.

"James was helping pick up the team in practice," said Brennan. "Generally a freshman is always learning, but it's good to see him helping the team." 

Senior Jesse Reed had 16 points and nine rebounds and freshman Delante Jones had 11 points and eight rebounds. Junior Jalen Rhea contributed with seven points off the bench. 

"This win really helps our confidence," said Washington. "We are a young team that is trying to figure out how to play with one another." 

American is now 1-4 on the season while New Hampshire falls to 3-2. 

AU shot 47 percent from the field and made a season-best nine three-point baskets. 

The team had 43 bench points, 26 in the paint and 14 off turnovers. 

Defensively, AU forced New Hampshire to commit 12 turnovers and despite being outrebounded by one (33-32), the Eagles pulled down 20 boards in the final 20 minutes. 

American trailed by as many as 12 (15-3) early in the contest, but a resilient Eagles squad battled back after the early first-half blunder. New Hampshire rattled off seven straight points before a trifecta by Washington.

The Wildcats held their double-digit lead until Reed powered through the lane to make it 24-16 with 5:32 left in the half. Reed then nailed a jumper with 42 ticks remaining cutting it to a single possession game.

UNH's Jacoby Armstong scored 12 of his game-high 22 points in the first. 

American had its off moments from the line missing all five and shooting 3-of-11 from the outside. 

Those stat lines would change in the second half and proved to be a major component of AU's comeback. 

AU began the second half on an 11-2 run and took a 34-40 lead on a post up by freshman Andrija Matic.  The visitors pushed the lead to double digits (48-37) on a trey by Reed with 9:22 left.  

"Coach talked at the half and said do what we practice and get stops of defense," said Washinton. 

American took its largest lead with 30 seconds left on a dagger by Reed, who fist pumped in celebration after connecting on the long attempt. 

New Hampshire shot 36 percent from the field and was held to 1-of-14 from the line.

American will continue its road swing when they meet Mount St. Mary's on Tuesday night.